Seattle Opera's Das Rheingold in 2009.

Four operas over six evenings. Sixteen hours. Tickets that range from $300–$1,460. Attending Wagner's Ring cycle this August takes commitment, the kind of careful planning reserved for summer vacations. But Seattle Opera has built its international reputation on the strength of its Wagner, and opera pilgrims will travel from around the world for a week of gods, dwarves, and splendor.

"We have Trekkies for Wagner!" maestro Robert Spano told us in 2009, shortly before Seattle Opera brought its holy grail of Ring cycles back to McCaw Hall. SO has presented 35 cycles of the Ring since the days of its founding director, Glynn Ross, and the latest incarnation consistently sells out (a boon for the company, which ended its 2011-12 season in the red). 

After the cycle's debut in 2001—and its subsequent stagings in 2005 and 2009—much has been said of the Northwest-inspired "green" set by Tom Lynch, all towering trees and rocky mountains high in the distance, and the traditional vision of director Stephen Wadsworth. Both return in 2013, with principal guest conductor Asher Fisch—who led the orchestra in this season's Turandot and Fidelio—making his American Ring debut with Seattle Opera. Wagner Trekkies will want to know that UK soprano Alwyn Mellor and German tenor Stefan Vinke make their local debut as Brünnhilde and Siegfried, respectively. Wagner newcomers might want to know what a Ring cycle actually is, and if it's anything like Lord of the Rings (Cliffs Notes!). 

Tickets for the August 2013 cycle just went on sale yesterday at seattlering.com; phone and in-person sales will start this Thursday at 9am. Your pass includes a seat for all four performances. Remaining tickets to single Ring operas will be available in the summer.

Ring Cycle I

Das Rheingold Aug 4, 2013 at 7

Die Walküre Aug 5, 2013 at 6

Siegfried Aug 7, 2013 at 6

Götterdämmerung Aug 9, 2013 at 6

Ring Cycle II

Das Rheingold Aug 12, 2013 at 7

Die Walküre Aug 13, 2013 at 6

Siegfried Aug 15, 2013 at 6

Götterdämmerung Aug 17, 2013 at 6

Ring Cycle III

Das Rheingold Aug 20, 2013 at 7

Die Walküre Aug 21, 2013 at 6

Siegfried Aug 23, 2013 at 6

Götterdämmerung Aug 25, 2013 at 6